Jamaica is set to implement a ban on plastic lunch boxes and personal care products containing microplastic beads, starting 1 June 2024. 

This announcement was made by Senator Matthew Samuda, who is the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, during the country’s State of the Nation Debate in its senate on 19 January 2024. 

Samuda said: “We have taken the lesson of the first round of the plastic ban as it relates to public education and need to give sufficient lead time.” 

The senator also revealed that the country will develop a national policy on the management of single-use plastic products in the upcoming financial year. 

“The Prime Minister has also announced, already, ahead of his Budget Debate, that he has directed that a programme aimed at the separation of plastics and other recyclables in the ministries, departments and agencies commence this fiscal year,” Samuda added. 

Presently, the country collects more than 30% of the plastic bottles produced monthly, and it now aims to collect and recycle no less than 70% of all plastic produced monthly. 

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The senator stated that Jamaica is actively engaging in international negotiations for a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.  

Besides the aforementioned ban, the fight against biodiversity loss and pollution will be supported by increased fines under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority and Wildlife Protection Acts, with further details to be provided by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in his Budget Debate presentation.